Monday, July 21, 2008

Iran Buys More Goods from America

As the negotiation between Javier Solana of the European Union and Saeed Jalili of Iran is in progress, I would like to mention a controversial news report that US exports to Iran has grown tenfold during the Bush administration’s term, despite tough rhetoric of “Axis of Evil” and confrontation over nuclear non-proliferation and terrorism, and economic sanctions (“Despite tough talk, Iran still buys American”; AP; July 8, 2008).

Main export items are daily life products, such as cigarettes, fur clothing, sculptures, perfume, musical instruments and military apparel. The objective of economic sanction is to hinder military build up of Iran. There is nothing in particular to worry about that Iranians buy some merchandises of American high or pop culture.

The problem is that export of small weapons and aircraft equipments is also increasing during the Bush term. In 2004, $106,635 of military rifles and $8,760 of rifle parts and accessories were shipped to Iran.

More seriously, Iran is keen on acquiring US military technology. Iran makes every effort to obtain leftover parts for F-14 fighters and attack helicopters. Actually, Iran faced serious airpower shortage in the Iran-Iraq War, because the United States stopped exporting equipments for these combat aircrafts.

It is ironical that the global economy, which is a product of our liberal democracy, returns evil for good. I still believe in the world strongly integrated with free trade and increased human exchanges. But strong regulations are necessary to defeat adversaries. This is the way how our liberal world order will be maintained.